Big Boy, Walled Lake, MI

Am I going to go ahead and talk about the Walled Lake Big Boy? Yes, yes I am. So I am in Michigan on a professional development trip. I took the train from Albany to Toledo on Friday night. Who takes the train from Albany to Toledo on a Friday night, you ask? Many people who are from Detroit originally and live out east, but are going to weddings and funerals. It felt we were all kindred spirits. There is something vaguely comforting about overhearing that a bunch of people are from the place you are from and don't live there anymore, but have to go back because of various important relationships. Also, there is something weird about the overnight train in terms of a bunch of strangers who don't know each other at all falling asleep in close proximity. You all feel like you are getting through some long journey together. There is a strong element of trust involved. Will the guy who is yelling at the all the people in his phone in colorful language do anything to me if I fall asleep? Was the philosophy grad student from Indiana a little too interested in my Jonathan Franzen book and what was playing on my ipod? What other time do you trust a stranger enough to fall asleep five feet away from them? Train travel is a different world and very relaxing. Utica. Syracuse. Rochester. Erie. Cleveland. Toledo. There. Some things you can rely on no matter what. You've all gone through this long journey together, and all you have to show for it is a big crease on your face and a Rachel Ray magazine you finished. It feels like more than it is. Say whatever you want about the convenience of plane travel, it doesn't give you that feeling of camaraderie. One thing I noticed was the weird increase of medical marijuana storefronts all over the area, as I took the bus from Detroit to Ann Arbor. Also, all those New York Times stories about abandoned Detroit land becoming gardens seemed completely true. Downtown Detroit was looking good! I even noticed a new creperie and sushi restaurant on a block that previously had nothing. If it was looking that good in the year 2000 I might have actually stuck with art school longer than a day and a half.

I have lived in New York state since the year 2005. Now even though I am in Michigan, I wonder where the seltzer is and can't stop saying "idear" instead of "idea" (like my coworkers in Massachusetts), but there is something about the place you are from. In some way, it is both totally foreign and also the thing you compare all other things to. I both don't know how I would fit in here now, and feel completely like it is a part of me. It feels confusing. People call other people "hicks" and "rednecks" here, and I really never feel like I hear that in New York state or western Massachusetts. My parents and siblings and I have consumed quite a bit of ice cream and wine, and it feels both completely routine and like a vacation. It has my grandpa, my most fabulous friend since I was 12 years old, Bell's beer, Caribou Coffee, and Big Boy. Ah, Big Boy. Check it out. Here I am with my sister.

 Salad bar!

Cool mural
 Browny lad
 Caesar salad

So far I've learned: my Dad is a good time (especially since he got a crazy new sportscar), my mom is good at planning my sister's wedding, and although you can always make new friends , you can never, ever, ever replace your old friends. So here's to lakes, Big Boy salad bar, Midwestern wholesomeness, the Detroit Tigers, and for the rest of the week - the city of Ann Arbor.


  1. Reminds me of my first day in Michigan!

  2. Alissa and I were discussing that, and I think we went to Panera your first day in Michigan because you were nervous about meeting my parents. Alissa says that maybe we went to Panera on the way back from the airport and then later in the day we went to Big Boy. That way we could both be right.

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